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Chinese firms now dominate the Asian legal market, at least by number of lawyers. In 2017, 27 out of the 50 largest Asia-Pacific law firms by head count came from China, and the top 50 chart looks only slightly different when we include U.S. and European firms’ Asia-Pacific offices—26 Chinese firms are on that list.

In 2017, the 50 largest law firms based in Asia-Pacific countries comprised 56,739 lawyers in total, a 20 percent increase from 2016’s 47,130. Twelve firms from China, plus Ashurst, reported a head count of more than 1,000 lawyers globally.

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Dentons leads the Asia 50 chart for the third consecutive year with 8,658 lawyers in 2017, up 16.3 percent from 2016’s 7,445. The global giant has held the top spot since its 2015 merger with China’s Dacheng Law Offices. In 2017, the firm completed a series of Latin American combinations in Peru, Costa Rica, Panama and Guatemala. Dentons’ expansion continued in 2018 with even more mergers and acquisitions in Southeast Asia and Australia.

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Anna Zhang

Anna Zhang is the Hong Kong-based Asia Bureau Chief for Law.com International. She writes about lawyers and legal issues across Asia. Her coverage includes the business of law, global and domestic law firms, in-house legal departments and regulatory issues. She can be reached at [email protected]

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